Chapter 45 : Hideyo Noguchi, Max Theiler, and Yellowjack

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Before Hideyo Noguchi became interested in yellow fever, he conducted important studies in several disparate fields. It was yellow fever that proved to be Noguchi’s downfall. The problem arose from his absorption, some might say obsession, with spirochetes, which he sought in a wide variety of different infections and tissues. Working at the same time as Max Theiler, he isolated one such organism that was believed to be the cause of yellow fever and named it . Theiler and Sellards showed that it was in fact indistinguishable from , the agent of Weil’s disease (spirochetal jaundice). However, Noguchi continued to do so after the Rockefeller Foundation sent a team to the tropics and failed to find his spirochete in yellow fever patients. The decision had been taken “because of Noguchi’s undaunted devotion and endeavour in identifying the causative agent of yellow fever and in developing a vaccine against this disease in Accra during 1927–8. One can only speculate as to whether Noguchi would have been pleased to receive this enthusiastic, though largely unwarranted tribute.

Citation: Dixon B. 2009. Hideyo Noguchi, Max Theiler, and Yellowjack, p 210-214. In Animalcules. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817442.ch45
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1. Clark, P. F. 1961. Pioneer Microbiologists of America. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison.
2. Koide, S. S. 2000. Hideyo Noguchi's last stand: the Yellow Fever Commission in Accra, Africa (1927–8). J. Med. Biogr. 8: 97 101.
3. Williams, G. 1960. Virus Hunters. Hutchinson, London, United Kingdom.
4. Zinsser, H. 1914. Infection and Resistance. Macmillan, New York, NY.

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